A3 Report Template
A3 Template for the Lean A3 Problem Solving Method
Much more than just a tool, A3 Problem Solving is a simple method to systematically:
- Define and solve problems
- Teach managers how to better coach, mentor, and lead
- Instill a way of thinking that causes entire teams of people to sharply
focus their minds on the foundational Lean ways of seeing process flows and
wastes - constantly redirecting their attention back to the foundational Lean
(which are really brought home when you
use the A3 Gemba Interview template)
- Empower people to implement their great ideas
(using a field-proven A3 approval system)
Download your free A3 Report template
Download free trials - which include a full working version
The A3 Report
is a simple
storyboard that tells the whole story of an improvement event on one large sheet of paper.
(The international A3 paper size is 297 x 420 millimeters. In the United States, 11 x 17 inch paper is used.)
The left side defines the problem - the right side proposes solutions.
A good A3 should tell a story - bringing a problem to life and pointing the way to a better future.
Bookmark = printer
Use ANY printer to create A3 reports
The Systems2win A3 report template is formatted to make it easy to use ANY printer to create A3 reports.
Here's how to do it...
The standard template starts with two 8 1/2 x
If all you have is a small printer...
If your printer can print 11x17 or A3 paper...
File > Print > select a printer capable of printing 11x17 or A3 paper
Word 2007+: Page Layout tab > click the tiny unnamed icon for Page Setup (which we have circled in red in the screen shot)
Word 2003: File > Page Setup
If you save as PDF...
If you save as PDF,
and then within your PDF viewing software...
Bookmark = storyboard
Word is the ideal tool to construct your A3 storyboard
We decided to use Word, (rather than Excel) for this template because Microsoft Word provides unmatched flexibility to allow wildly diverse formats - and anyone that has ever seen more than a dozen A3 Reports knows that it is rare for any two to look alike.
Because all of your
Systems2win continuous improvement tools are
written in Word and Excel -
Common tools used for illustrating A3 Reports include...
Anything you can
Examples of A3 Reports
This same A3 template can be used in MANY diverse ways:
- Problem Solving - is the most common use
- Team Charter - especially for Hoshin Planning, Value Stream Mapping, 5S, Standard Work,
or any project complex enough to justify an 11x17 charter
- Status Report - Measures-focused periodic progress report to support your lean management system
- Intelligence Report - to build consensus about environmental conditions
- Opportunity Proposal - to introduce opportunities and possible ways to capitalize on them
To see many diverse sample A3 Reports - refer to the books in our Suggested Reading.
The A3 Storyboard format can be VERY flexible
There is no one single correct template for an A3. It is the spirit of dialog, not the piece of paper, that is important.
As long as you're using the A3 Problem Solving Approach, and you are able to keep your deliverable on one piece of paper, then you have great flexibility to format your storyboard in any way that most effectively "tells your entire story" - from problem through proposed solution.
Your goal is not to "quickly fill in the blanks of an A3 Report".
Your goal is to harness all of the benefits of the A3 problem solving method...
Benefits of the A3 problem solving method
- Provide a single, easy-to-use approach for problem solving - that can
be applied to ANY type of problem
(when everyone knows what someone means when they say "Let's do an A3", it frees people up to focus on the roots of problems - without needing to reinvent new ways of working together)
- Encourage people to identify problems, and bring them to attention
(in contrast to hiding problems, or pretending that there aren't any)
- Stimulate group dialog and creative problem-solving - building consensus based on
objective, indisputable observed facts
(in contrast to one person trying to "sell" their half-baked ideas and subjective opinions)
- Break people of the bad habit of jumping to solution decisions before even
defining the root causes
(and the bad habit of being the heroic fire fighter, instead of preventing fires in the first place)
- Empower the people closest to the work to share responsibility for
improving their work
(in contrast with top-down command and control that discourages workers from thinking and caring)
- Encourage managers to manage the means of
production by truly understanding the dirty details
(in contrast to the just-show-me-results Management By Objective approach so popular with so many MBA schools)
- Instill an organizational culture of "learning
(not just doing what you're told - but instilling more effective ways of thinking, working, and learning together)
- Groom new leaders in a scientifically repeatable way
(that actually demonstrate how to lead - and how to mentor their own people to also become new leaders)
- Provide a systematic logical thinking process - teaching people to see, understand and synthesize cause and effect relationships - in visual, succinct ways that anyone can understand at a glance
Bookmark = Method
The A3 Problem Solving Method (how to do it)
the printable A3 Standard Operating Procedure
as part of your free trials
Licensed customers are able to edit this Word
template to document and publish their own A3 Problem Solving Method -
(so licensed customers should download from your portal the PDF that might have been edited to reflect your company's own policies - which might be slightly different from the original template as delivered from Systems2win)
Tip: Also consider other problem solving methods
Bookmark = Readings
Suggested Readings for A3 Problem Solving
To learn more about A3 management, and see many examples of A3 reports, we suggest the following books & resources:
- Lean Definitions - by Systems2win
|"The art of progress consists in maintaining order within our processes of change, and change within our processes of order." Dr. Alfred North Whitehead|
And for alternative or supplemental approaches to problem-solving, we suggest the following resources:
Three Types of A3 Storyboards
Although the Problem Solving A3 Report is by far the most popular, there are 2 other common variations:
The PowerPoint alternative
to a Status A3 Report
An A3 Status Report has several advantages over PowerPoint:
- The entire presentation is on one page - communicating faster and more holistically
- It forces a more concise and systematic thought process when preparing the report
- It is more easily archived and distributed - along with all other documents related to the project
(usually in PDF format, which is readable to everyone)
- Less time to create
If you have ever created your own A3 Reports, you know how much time you spend trying to move things around and rephrase things to just barely fit everything on that one page - and its even more time-consuming when you hand write your A3's. Kaizen Events simply don't have that kind of spare time.
- It reveals the story by revealing and building upon one concept at a time -
which is how human brains process information
(unpeeling the onion in layers is especially desirable in a live presentation, and increases the percent of information assimilated even when published in HTML format for on-demand viewing)
- It can be scaled to any size including:
a) one-page thumbnail summary
b) one page per slide - perhaps then printed an posted on bulletin board
(posting large printed results on a bulletin board in a high-traffic hallway is a great way to publicize Lean success stories)
- It is more flexible to effectively "tell the
More flexible in both length and format
The good news is that you don't need to choose. Your Systems2win templates come with both types of templates:
- A3 Report, and...
- PowerPoint Presentation of Results
so that you can choose the best way(s) to communicate YOUR story to YOUR audience(s).
Typical Headings for a PowerPoint Presentation of Results
- Problem or Issue
Why is Change Needed?
Scope of team charter - including clear definition of where the target process begins and ends
- Current Conditions
A graphic illustration using one or two tools for continuous improvement to depict the As Is or As Was state
- Root Cause Analysis
Either using a root cause analysis fishbone diagram, or simple indented text for each layer of "why?"
- Objectives, Measures, and Targets
And any Boundaries that differ from the pre-published Boundaries for any Continuous Improvement Event
- Tools & Methods Used
A summary of process improvement tools and methods used
- Improvements Implemented
Perhaps starting with a limited test, but the goal of a Kaizen Event is to actually implement the changes before the end of the 1 to 5 day Kaizen Event - including user training
- After Condition
Using the same one or two graphic Lean tools to depict the After or Desired state
- Implementation Plan
Perhaps a Value Stream Plan or 30-Day Action List for any improvements not already completed
Potential obstacles to sustainability – and plans for how to address them
- Issues & Ideas
Issues & Ideas that came up that were not addressed as part of this improvement event, but should be addressed in the future
- Team Members
Recognition is one of the most important rewards
- Success Measures
Objectives, Measures, and Targets - with starting, expected, and actual results
Actual results are added with each follow-up audit - and audits continue every 30 days until targets are achieved and sustained
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